How Beverage Brands Use Product Packaging To Trigger Emotions

It’s a hot day. You’re mouth is dry. You run into a convenience store to grab a quick drink, but you have no idea what you want. You stare into six large vertical coolers filled with a vast ocean of beverage containers. Which one do you choose?

Oftentimes, the answer comes down to packaging. Which product packaging catches your eye and appeals to your desires? Which packaging makes a promise to deliver what you want?

The Potent Power of Product Packaging

Effective packaging is an essential piece of the marketing puzzle. While the influence of packaging often takes place in the subconscious (we’re not always aware how the packaging is affecting us), it has a huge impact on purchasing decisions. Like your website or office space, your packaging is a representation of your brand. It must appeal to consumer emotions and make a promise.

In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the power of product packaging by looking at some new packaging from a trio of top beverage brands. We’ll tell you how effectively these beverage makers made us thirst for their products.

Reviewing New Packaging from Beverage Brands

When it comes to drinks, packaging is particularly important because:

(1) without packaging, all you would have is a puddle of liquid on the floor

(2) there are a lot of beverage choices and many times product selection is made on a whim (without prior thought or planning)

That means beverage packaging has to work overtime. So how did the latest packaging changes by Coke, Starbucks and Absolut impact our emotions?

Coke Kicks the Cold-Activated Can

Coca-Cola has been trying out a lot of different packaging innovations lately. We love this about the big-time brand. Their latest effort is the cold-activated can. It looks like your standard can of Coke for most part—except that when it reaches the ideal coldness a cluster of blue ice cubes appear on the front of the can. The idea here is you can always tell when the beverage is perfectly cold.


Coke cold-activated can


Beer drinkers will note this is not exactly a totally new innovation—Coors introduced a similar feature in their beer cans not so long ago. This concept is probably more valuable with beer than pop. Still it’s a mildly interesting attempt by Coke to stand out amongst the endless soda options (including arch enemy Pepsi). But it doesn’t really blow us away—or make us want to drink Coke more.

It’s also not as cool as some of Coke’s previous packaging tricks, like these bottles made out of plants:

Coke bottles made from plants

Or printing different consumer names on bottles:


Coke puts consumer names on bottles


Or creating a bottle made entirely of ice with a rubber band around it to keep your hands from getting chilled while drinking (which is also a wearable bracelet after the packaging completely melts away):


Awesome Coca-Cola ice bottle


Starbucks Sells the Season of Sipping

You can always tell when the holiday season is here because you start seeing people walking around with Starbucks holiday cups. It’s a winter tradition, and this year is no different. Starbucks recently introduced their new holiday cup design, which is a little different—and a little more subtle—than years past.

Here are this year’s Starbucks holiday cups:


Starbucks holiday cups


Here are some holiday cups from years past:


Starbucks holiday cups from years past


It’s a simple, seasonal change, but we think it makes a big difference. It triggers a warm holiday feeling that spurs a desire for a comforting, hot beverage. It also plays down the “big corporation” component of Starbucks (more prominent with their stark white/green logo cups) and creates a more intimate perception.

This is a great example of why product packaging matters. A small change like this can trigger a big emotional response. When we see someone drinking out of a holiday Starbucks cup, it immediately makes us crave one of these:

Starbucks holiday eggnog latte

Absolut Serves Up a Bottle of Originality

Ever gone into a wine, beer or liquor store and bought a bottle based on the label design or name alone? Booze is a product category where creative packaging can get your foot in the door. One of the most popular alcohol brands in the world, Absolut already has its foot in the door—but that didn’t stop the brand from trying something new (and cool) with their packaging.


Every bottle of Absolut Originality is different

Absolut recently introduced “Absolut Originality”, a limited-edition line of 4 million unique bottles. By infusing a drop of cobalt blue into the glass during production, each bottle gets a cool blue swirl in it. And no two bottles turn out exactly the same, meaning each and every one of them is a true original.


Absolut Originality

By transforming its packaging into a work of art, Absolut found a unique way to spark increased consumer interest in a product they’ve seen on store shelves for years. This notable and brand-appropriate change creates an additional compelling reason to buy a bottle of Absolut. More importantly, the original blue streak might even inspire consumers to keep the bottle around after the drinking is done. And there’s real marketing and branding value to that.


Absolut Blue Bottle


Bottom Line: Make Your Packaging a Marketing Asset

Don’t underestimate the importance of product packaging. Make it a key component of your marketing strategy. You want a packaging design that reflects your brand and creates an emotional connection with consumers. Your packaging should stand out on store shelves and speak to the needs of your target audience. When done well, product packaging can be an incredibly powerful marketing asset for your company.

Product/Packaging Images Courtesy Of:






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